If Marangu is the “Coca Cola” route, then the Machame Route is the “Whiskey” route. It is the second most popular and one of the most scenic routes on the mountain. It is done over 6 days, so acclimatization is easier, and the success rate is fairly high. It is for physically fit people with some hiking experience. Descent is down the Mweka trail staying at the Mweka or Millennium camp the final night on the mountain.
Day 1: Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Machame Gate, Hike to Machame Camp.
Drive from Moshi to Machame Gate takes about 45 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame, which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain
We depart the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. At lower elevations the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.
Elevation: 1830m/6000ft to 3050m/9950ft
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat; Montane Forest
After breakfast we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the valley along a steep rocky
Day 2; Machame Camp to Shira Camp
After breakfast we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on ascending path, crossing the valley path, crossing the valley along a steep rocky ridge. The route now turns west onto a river gorge until we arrive at the Shira campsite.
Elevation; 3050m/9950ft to 3850m/12600ft
Walking time; 4-5 hours
Day 3; Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
From Shira plateau we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the ‘’Sharks Tooth’ elevation 4650m/15250ft. shortly after the tower we come to the second junction which goes to the Arrow Glacier. We now continue down to the Barranco Camp. Although you will end the day around the same elevation, as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.
Elevation; 3850m/12600ft to 4000m/13000ft
Walking time; 5-6 hours
Habitat; semi desert
Day 4; Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep up the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley to the junction, which connects, with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Camp. You have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp with views of the summit in the distance.
Elevation; 4000m/13000ft to 4700m/15350ft
Walking time; 6-8hours
Habitat; Alpine desert
Day 5; Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp
Very early in the morning, we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy stone scree towards Stella point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise ever seen. From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. Once at Uhuru Peak you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro.
From the summit we will descend down to Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You may want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. We arrive at Mweka Camp and enjoy our last evening on the mountain.
Elevation; 4700m/15350ft to 5895 to 19340ft
Down to 3090m/10150ft
Distance; km/3miles up to 13km/8miles down
Hiking time; 5-7hours up/5-6 hours down
Habitat; Stone scree and ice –capped summit
Day 6; Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate, drive to Moshi
After breakfast we continue to descend down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
Our vehicles will be waiting for you at Mweka gate to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes).
Elevation; 3090m/10150ft to 1680m/5500ft
Hiking time; 3-4 hours